We made it to the outskirts of Volcan Paricutin in the mountains of northern Michocan. We camped in the small town of Angahuan. The people there are Purepetcha and speak a different language. The women wear wonderful jeweled colored satin-like blouses, and full pleated skirts. They look as if they are dressed up for an event, but they are doing their daily chores, cooking, carrying water down the street, usually with a kid strapped on for the ride. They wear their hair in long braids. Their clothes were so beautiful I wanted to get some, but this isn’t the type of place that has retail stores. These were all handmade clothes and I didn’t even get a picture. I was too embarrased to ask – besides, it’s better to just admire then put a camera in someone’s face.
The men all have horses and want to rent them for the trek to the steeple or volcano. They easily rode alongside the bus and tried to make a deal while we were driving through town. The volcano was 8 hours by horse and seemed a bit too ambitious with the kids. We were there to hike to the church anyway.
It was already late in the day, so we decided to do an evening hike and get to the church at sunset (we’ve hiked in a lava field in the blazing sun before and it wasn’t the most fun.) The hike was only about an hour and mostly downhill, so we made it just at sunset.
In 1943 the volcano started rumbling and within a few weeks there were explosions and smoke fuming out. Six months later lava was oozing, slow enough for people to escape. It flowed 10 feet deep and buried the forest and 3 villages. The fires finally went out in 1952. In the 100,000 acres of volcanic ash, the only remaining building is the church. The lava flowed right up to the alter. It’s really something amazing to see.
After scrambling over the remains of the church we had a quick snack and headed back. The kids did fantastic on the walk home, considering it was dark and uphill. The sun set on one side of us, the full moon rising on the other. Hundreds of bats were flying over our heads with the steeple of the volcanic rock covered church still visible behind us. It’s one of those evenings I will never forget.